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Using a Virtual Community (the Health Equity Learning Collaboratory) to Support Early-Stage Investigators Pursuing Grant Funding
Published in the International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health, Oct. 30, 2018
Junior investigators often have limited access to networks of scientific experts and resources that facilitate competitive grant submissions. Since environments in which scientists are trained are critically important for long-term success, we built and tested a virtual environment for early-stage investigators (ESIs) working on grant proposals. The aim of this study was to evaluate the virtual community’s influence on grant submission patterns among participants from underrepresented groups. As part of a grant writing coaching model, junior investigators were recruited into a professional development program designed to develop competitive grantsmanship skills. Designed by the Research Resources and Outreach Core (RROC) of the National Research Mentoring Network (NRMN), the Health Equity Learning Collaboratory (EQ-Collaboratory) provided a virtual community for social support, accountability, constructive feedback, and access to peer networks to help investigators overcome barriers to grant submission. This study assessed differences in outcomes for participants who completed the training within the EQ-Collaboratory compared to those who did not. The analyzed data revealed a statistically significant difference in the average time to submission for participants enrolled in the EQ-Collaboratory. EQ-Collaboratory ESIs submitted proposals 148.6 days earlier, (p < 0.0001). The results suggest that a supportive virtual environment can help investigators more quickly overcome barriers to grant submission.
Link to read the complete article: https://www.mdpi.com/1660-4601/15/11/2408/htm
The Diversity Program Consortium Coordination and Evaluation Center at UCLA is supported by Office of the Director of the National Institutes of Health / National Institutes of General Medical Sciences under award number U54GM119024.